Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another deeply from the heart. You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God.
1 Peter 1:22-23
When I read these verses about how God has loved us and how we are called to love one another I think about my friend Laura who dearly loved animals. She rescued dogs, donkeys and other animals throughout her life. When she died two years ago she had five dogs, all of which she had rescued from the local animal shelter. I became heir of one of them. One particular dog she rescued, she named Ransom. Ransom was not in good health when she took him home. She nursed Ransom back to good health, but soon after he became a healthy dog he disappeared. Losing Ransom was difficult for Laura because she had put so much love and care into nursing him back to good health. She had really grown to love that dog. However, Ransom returned one day with another dog that was in worse shape than he had been when Laura rescued him. Ransom had found a friend that needed to be rescued and so he brought him to his rescuer for help.
That is how the good news is shared. That is why the good news of Jesus Christ is shared with others who are on a road to sadness, frustration and maybe even destruction. It is an imperative gift of love that we pass on to others in need of God’s love because His love impels us to share. We share the love of God, our Rescuer, with someone else and give them the gift of God’s love and forgiveness that has been given to us. That imperishable seed of God’s love and forgiveness is not a gift to take for granted, but a gift we simply are impelled to share. It is a gift with an impelling drive of urgency that is filled with compassion.
Being a Christian is all about being loved by God which empowers and enables us to love our neighbor, and in so doing we witness to the love of God. New people do new things. When we are so busy thinking about ourselves, our silence, or looking the other way, our inaction testifies, but not of God’s imperishable seed of love. But, in so doing, we deny the truth of who we are and who Jesus calls us to be. When we fail to reach out to others with God’s love we are not testifying about who we are. We are called by Christ to become who we are. The Christian lives out the imperatives of sharing God’s love because he/she is a Christian. Through the living sacrifice of our lives for our neighbors we continually become who we are as a child of God.
- How often have you declined your identity as a Christian by not sharing your faith?
- How often have you deferred testimony of God’s love to others?
- Have you ever thought that it wouldn’t make a difference anyway so you were silent?
- Have you ever been a rescuer, like my friend’s dog, Ransom?
Sue is NLS Spiritual Director, since 2019 and is a retired Lutheran Pastor (ELCA). Active in VdC since 1995, she has served two terms on the Board of the Texas VdC Secretariat, and also on the Texas Gulf Coast VdC Board as Spiritual Director since its start-up in 2017.